Monday, March 24, 2014

India - Broken Democracy?

As many aspirants for political position in India ventilate in this season as 'mother of democracy' gears up for 16th Loksabha election next month, one wonders what is going on. People threatening 'suicide' if a political party denies them 'party nomination' while every major party threatened by disgruntled party leaders who are denied coveted party nomination. Meanwhile a seasoned politician goes openly in advocating a 'voting fraud'.

The root cause of all this non-sense is that the process or politics of making someone party nomination has not settled down in India. When there are no primaries, this becomes a huge issue. Party nomination becomes an exercise in favoritism with no objective basis of evaluating 'wining potential' of any particular candidate. On top of it, India does not have proportional voting system; so someone with only 30% voters backing winning the constituency is a normal phenomenon.

Can anything change? Nothing unless a major party starts intra-party primaries (AAP?).

Update - I did not expect Rahul Gandhi showing the foresight in pointing the importance of 'party primaries'. That is a pleasant surprise. It is good that Rahul Gandhi shows that at least his ideas are right (like focusing on lower middle class, exactly the strata Congress Party needs to attend too). Of course, having right set of policies and ideas is only the first step, translating those by actual execution is a harder problem; especially when you are slated to loose big time in coming elections.

The pitch for Rahul Gandhi needs to be "we made mistakes, we will not tolerate Corruption, and these are steps we would take". The basic contradiction of Congress is hard to reconcile for average Indians - you claim you want clean polity, then why did you allow so many scams after scams all along? You cannot wake at the last minute and 'talk good game'. Unless Congress accepts what has gone wrong and takes demonstrative steps on hustings (like making income open for all its candidates, making party contributions transparent like AAP and making it open what election expenses it incurs). It is too late of an hour, but 'right politics and right policies' are never late for citizens in the long run for a democratic state.

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